Spirk (with a small dose of Pinto)

Fan Fiction and Personal Ramblings



The Death Wishes

Recently, as in since this all began, the pandemic to end all pandemics (I am using humor here, please don’t think I don’t take it seriously), I decided to watch the Death Wishes. Bruce Willis had done a remake of the movie Charles Bronson did. I could watch both for free on Amazon so I did. Here are my comparisons, which I have been meaning to do for a while.

Now I can take Bruce or leave him. He’s done a couple of movies I just loved. The Sixth Sense, Unbreakable. I don’t mind Die Hard. I like Red (Karl Urban is in that and great too). But lets face it, he’s not always the greatest actor. He’s okay. And I think I’ve heard as a person he can be…challenging.

There will be massive spoilers going forward so be warned should you desire to see them.

I saw Bruce’s version first. His character is named the same as Charles’ is. Paul Kersey. But Bruce’s Kersey is a trauma surgeon in Chicago. He saves lives of gang members and the like all day long, plus good guys too. In the city. He has a very nice suburban life with a beautiful wife and almost graduating high school senior. His slightly less successful brother is played by one of my absolute favorites, Vincent D’onofrio . In the beginning Vincent’s character asks Kersey for money, which he loans him. They go out of their way at first to show that Kersey is not a touch guy with several scenes. Then he goes out to dinner with his wife, daughter, and brother. They have a nice dinner and the daughter talks about where she will go to college. The valet guy overhears where they live while they are talking as he’s getting their car and he hears them say that the next night they won’t be home as they are going out for Paul’s birthday dinner.

Believing they won’t be home, this dude, who is a scumbag criminal, arranges for him and his band of thieves to rob their house. But as it turns out, Paul being a trauma surgeon, is called in to work at the hospital that night and the birthday dinner is to be postponed. The thieves don’t know this, however, and so break in and terrorize Paul’s wife and daughter. When the wife sees they are getting rough with her daughter, she tries to intervene and one of them shoots her. They then beat the teenaged daughter until she is in a coma.

Paul and his brother end up running to where they are taken at the hospital and they are told the wife died but the daughter is in this coma. They never say she is raped, which I am grateful for, since she’s supposed to be a teenager. It’s just implied here that they beat her. (more about the rape when I get to Bronson’s).

Now for much of the rest of the movie, his daughter remains in a coma. Kersey is treating a gang member one day in the hospital and the dude’s gun falls onto the floor. He kicks it under the table to collect it later. He has gone to the police and they are having trouble solving the crime.

Anyhow, one day he sees this couple getting mugged and he ends up using the gun to save them, and thereafter, he makes it his business to find the ones who were responsible to what happened to his wife and daughter.

And he does. He gets every one of the guys responsible. And in pretty brutal ways, not gonna lie.

Now the daughter wakes up toward the end and goes home with Kersey and his brother (who paid Kersey back) and is probably the most likeable character in the movie, and as they are leaving the hospital, Kersey sees the final guy responsible. The daughter doesn’t remember much but this thug thinks she might some day so he decides to go back to Kersey’s house to kill her. But this time Kersey is ready and has her hide and he kills the thug and the cops look the other way because they feel bad they couldn’t solve the case. But they tell him stop killing people and he’s like I got them. I’m done.

Now in some ways I expected Bronson’s movie to be less brutal than Bruce’s. Because movies can do much more now than they did then. But on the other hand I realized this was still Bronson and it was still going to be brutal. It was and a few scenes actually were worse for me.

First, the 70s porn music that played throughout was just horrible. That’s a side note.

In the 1970s one, Kersey is an architect rather than a doctor and they live in New York City not Chicago. Kersey and his wife (a famous actress of the time and I can’t recall who, it wasn’t Bronson’s wife Jill though, who he did do movies with) have been vacationing in Hawaii. When they return, they go out of their way to show that Kersey is a bleeding heart liberal and thinks criminals get a bad rap and are just down on their luck.

The Kerseys have an adult daughter in this one and she is married. In this one, Kersey’s wife and daughter are spending the day together and they are seen at a local high end grocery store that delivers to their high-rise apartment. A group of “freaks” sees them. That is even what they are called on IMDB. None of the freaks are recognizable save for one, and it’s Jeff Goldblum in his very first role. Anyway, these freaks follow Kersey’s wife and daughter back to their apartment building and somehow sneak through a side door even though it’s the kind of building with a doorman.

They ring the bell of the apartment and because they are waiting for groceries to be delivered, the daughter opens the door. The freaks come in and brutally beat both women. They try to rob them but they have very little cash. They then rape the daughter. I had read that she got raped and I was hoping it wasn’t especially graphic but it was graphic enough trust me. There is one thing they do that…I can’t even say. Anyway, it’s mercifully fast and over.

But they leave the women for dead. The daughter manages to call her husband and they are taken to the hospital where the wife dies. The daughter lives but is never the same and just stares into space and is eventually committed to a mental hospital.

Kersey has the son-in-law in this one and he is whiny and annoying. The brother character in the later version is much better.

Anyway similar to the remake, Kersey begins to go after criminals and he ends up killing a lot of them and gets a reputation as a vigilante killer in the city and many people like him because of it.

Unlike the remake, the cops never figure out who the “freaks” were and neither does Kersey. So he never gets those directly responsible for what happened to his wife and daughter.

But I found Bronson’s Kersey to be surprisingly much more sympathetic. When he first starts killing muggers and the like he gets sick and hates himself for it. Feels terrible. Bruce never does. And anyway he just seemed like he had been a nicer guy.

In the end, just like in Bruce’s the cops tell him to stop killing and he says he will. But he then moves to Chicago and starts to look at criminals like he’s not done.

Now, like I said, I thought Bronson was more sympathetic, but I liked how in Bruce’s he went after the guys who actually attacked his wife and daughter rather than random thugs. The son-in-law in Bronson’s was horrible and whiny and the brother in Bruce’s was one of the best parts. I liked how the daughter recovered in Bruce’s and also because she was a teen, they didn’t go the rape route. The music in the 70s version was just awful.

I didn’t come away with hating either movie but I can’t say I loved either movie or even liked them. They weren’t the worst movies I’d ever seen, but they were, like, meh.

Movie Reviews 04.2017 Edition

Here are the recent movies I’ve seen and my review of them:

Spoilers ahead


Kong: Skull Island

Man proves how evil they are once again, really. This time in the form of Samuel L. Jackson as a somewhat bloodthirsty colonel. I can see where he’s coming from and I don’t think he’s all bad. It’s sort of ambiguous here. Kong does immediately attack them upon reaching the island and kills several of the men he’s responsible for. Kong has his own reasons, of course, and isn’t the monster Jackson thinks he is. I liked this movie and found most of the characters in it likable. And Tom Hiddleston, who obviously did some bulking up for this role, with his exposed and beautiful biceps was quite the pleasure to ogle I must say.


Beauty and the Beast

Casting in this movie was perfection as far as I was concerned. I was a fan of Jerry Orbach and his roles over the years but I still think Ewan was pretty good as Lumiere. And I adore Ian Mckellan in whatever he does. But Emma Watson was a fantastic Belle and Luke Evans and Josh Gads as Gaston and LeFou were genius. Add the guy who played the beast/prince who is the cartoon prince come to life and…well it was great. There were a couple extra songs that I didn’t really think added much but for the most part, it deserves the success it’s been having in the box office and I think if you enjoyed the Disney animated movie, you will quite enjoy this.


The Siege

This is an old movie from the late 1990s with Denzel Washington, Annette Benning and Bruce Willis. We saw it as a Netflix movie. I have to say I thought it was really well done and seemed very appropriate to our current times as it deals with terrorist attacks and bigotry toward those of the Muslim faith. Denzel is great in anything he does and the other two are no slouches either. Plus they were about 20 years younger than they are now and were pretty easy on the eyes. There’s a part where Muslims are rounded up and forced to stay in Yankee stadium in NY as part of martial law that I think isn’t all that far off from reality at this point. A striking movie, considering it all happened before 09/11.



I’d heard good things about this one and finally got a chance to see a DVD copy. Basically Amy Adams is a language expert tapped to talk to aliens who have arrived in Montana. Along the way she sees visions of her daughter who died of a disease. She works closely with a scientist played by Jeremy Renner. I was frankly pretty bored. I think the other two who watched it with me were a little more interested in it than I was, but I found it kind of slow, to be honest, and not the amazing movie all the commercials led you to believe. I think it was nominated for some awards too, though I don’t think it won. The so-called shocking ending wasn’t a shock at all. Everyone who watched it with me said they had figured out that’s what the deal was before the ending came. So, um, yeah.

I remember years ago watching The Sixth Sense, and THAT was how to do a shocking ending.

This? Not so much.

So those are my current movie reviews.

Movie Reviews from Ivan 03.2017 Edition

So I thought it might be fun to post my own personal movie reviews as I begin the 2017 viewing season. We go many Tuesdays and so I end up seeing quite a few. I won’t review all of them and who knows maybe no one will really be interested, but anyway.

I’m going to start with two I’ve seen recently.

And warning warning warning: SPOILERS AHEAD (read at your own risk)

Get Out

I went into this with not many expectations. I’d heard an interview with Jordan Peele who created and directed it. I’ve like his comedy work but this promised to be a little different and based on that interview I expected it to be more like a horror film.

I ended up being pleasantly surprised it was more like a dark thriller than like a gory horror flick. I thought he had a great way of getting you to instantly like the characters he wanted you to like and sympathesize with.

The opening scene is an African American man attempting to find the house of his girlfriend’s parents in a quiet suburb. He’s on the phone and clearly feels uncomfortable with where he is. Even though you only get his dialogue at this point you like this guy already and then bam this car pulls up and starts acting weird and as he realizes he’s in trouble, you know it too.

The main character, Chris, is another African American man who is about to go away for the weekend to meet his white girlfriend’s parents. You like him instantly (he has a dog after all) and you like his friend who works for the TSA who is also taking care of Chris’ dog while he is away for the weekend. The girlfriend, Rose, seems pretty cool too.

She drives them down to see her parents assuring him that her parents are not racist. They don’t appear to be when you meet them but they are vaguely strange and Chris recognizes that instantly as well. They also have a black maid and a black groundskeeper who both behave oddly and rather like zombies.  Her father is a neurologist and her mother a psychiatrist. When they find out Chris smokes they attempt to talk him into undergoing hypnosis to change the habit but he politely declines.

Eventually he meets her brother too who is also vaguely off but Chris endures things pretty well. They inform Chris and Rose that an annual party is that weekend too so Chris knows he is going to be forced to meet even more people.

Anyway, as the film progresses you realize this family is even more off than you initially thought and Chris is basically hypnotized against his will. He speaks of this and his doubts to Rose and she admits to him that she may have been wrong about her family and she apologizes.

The party happens and Chris meets a lot of really strange white people and one African American who is probably in his late twenties but is married to a white woman probably in her sixties. Chris realizes this is odd to say the least. And the guy acts really weird and also has the same sort of zombie qualities the maid and groundskeeper have. But when Chris flashes a camera in his face, this dude freaks out and yells, Get Out.

Eventually it is discovered by Chris that the family, through the help of Rose, abducts young black people to use for their bodies. The father puts the brains of dying white friends and family who have bid on the abducted into the fresh, healthy bodies. It’s bizarre and twisted and works really well, actually. Chris is their latest victim, though he didn’t realize it at first.

You root for him to get away from this freak show and eventually with the help of his very funny best friend, the TSA agent, he does.



Up front I will say I was not a fan of X-Men Origins: Wolverine or of The Wolverine. I did really like Logan in the first X-Men movies as well as in X-Men: First Class and as well as X-Men: Days of Future Past.

In this one we find Logan to be an older character who is disillusioned and drinks too much. There also appears to be something quite wrong with him because he doesn’t heal like he used to. He’s been working as a chauffeur in a limo to make money and he lives in Mexico with an albino mutant named Caliban and Charles Xavier, who is very old now.

Charles has mental issues and Logan has to keep him constantly drugged because of his powerful mind. If he doesn’t take his drugs, he has seizures and all hell breaks loose. It seems clear from the implications that this has happened with Charles before and this is why Logan now keeps him in a bunker in Mexico. His plan is to one day buy a boat for he and Charles to live on in the middle of the ocean, presumably so they can not hurt anyone.

He runs into a woman who desperately begs for his help but he initially rejects her. Eventually she tracks him down and tells him about a little girl named Laura. The woman eventually is killed by the bad guys and Logan and Charles are left trying to keep Laura safe from them. It is learned that she was created by evil scientists who created children from Mexican women and mutant DNA. Laura is actually Logan’s daughter as he was used for her.

My main objection was, as I said before, too many action scenes. I know it is an action movie but they began to become tedious. This was actually one of my complaints about the previous Wolverine movies. I also think it went on about 30 minutes longer than it needed to.

But as I have thought about it one of my main things was that I think there was a major plot that was rather not in character with Charles Xavier as I saw him in the previous movies.

The three main characters are on the run from these absolutely dreadful bad guys. The bad guys have found them time and time again and have shown they are capable of hurting anyone that gets in their way.

They run across this nice little family that have a farm and horses through a near accident with the horses on the highway. They end up helping the family get their horses together. The wife offers to cook them a meal for their trouble and Logan, rightly, immediately says no. Charles, however, insists on going to their house AND accepts their invitation to stay the night. Charles, basically, knowingly puts this innocent family into harm’s way and of course they end up butchered by the bad guys, and I just don’t believe the character I have seen would have done that. Charles knew the dangers they were facing and basically sacrificed this family for his own selfish needs. I did not dig that at all.

So obviously, these are only my opinions. Most people have liked Logan and I did like it better than the other Wolverine offerings just not enough for me to personally recommend it.

Weekly Ramblings, 12/05/2016 Edition

There’s an interesting phenomenon on AO3 that continues to leave me puzzled. Those that follow me as as an overall writer on there (as opposed to following a specific story) is constantly fluctuating. Saturday I had 660 followers. This morning I have 658. I have absolutely no clue what I did to turn off those two followers. But this happens constantly to me. And I am always left wondering why.

Had a pretty nice weekend of watching mostly Christmas movies on Saturday.

I managed to watch A Christmas Carol with Alistair Sims. This is a 1951 version many quote as their favorite.I like this version but it’s not my favorite, though it’s quite well done. There are a couple of things I don’t care for. One: the Tiny Tim (he’s actually a cute little boy) who is the same size as the actress who plays his mother. There is a scene where they are walking along the backdrop of shops and they are side by side and the little actor boy is the same size as the actress playing his mom, Hermione Baddeley, who was 5″3″. I’m sorry but if you are going to play “Tiny Tim” you are supposed to be a small, frail boy. Not someone who looks like they could run out and play soccer with a healthy glow.

My other issue with this version is that Scrooge’s long lost love is renamed, inexplicably, Alice. The story is quite clear that her name is Belle. Whatever is wrong with that name, actually written by the extremely famous author that you feel the need to change it to Alice, is beyond me.

Otherwise, it’s a fine version and Alistair Sims is definitely a fantastic Scrooge.

I also watched It’s a Wonderful Life, Rudolph the Red-nosed Reindeer, Santa Claus is Coming to Town, and the Little Drummer Boy. I did some online shopping for Christmas also.

Sunday I went to see a Christmas show as well as went to a nice dinner.

So all in all a nice weekend.

I have begun the next chapter of My Devotion, though I haven’t got it completed or even know when I will have it done. With Christmas going on, my regular updates will likely be slower.

I am working on a story called I Heard the Bells, which is apparently a hard sell for most of my regular readers (if I have any) because it’s not getting much love. Ah, well. To each their own. Can’t say I am not disappointed though. Should have stuck to my original idea of not writing any more Christmas stories.

I’m crazy busy at the real job right now so not sure when my next update of anything will be but I know for sure it won’t be today.

Have a good week.


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